Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is PrimeLife?

PrimeLife is research project on privacy and identity management funded by the European Commission from 2008 to 2011. The consortium consists of 15 partners from industry, research, academia and public authorities.

What does "PrimeLife" stand for?

"PrimeLife" is shorthand for "Privacy and Identity Management in Europe for Life". The PrimeLife project is the successor of the project "PRIME - PRivacy and Identity Management for Europe".

What are PrimeLife's objectives?

PrimeLife follows three main goals:

1. Providing privacy throughout life: PrimeLife!

  • addressing the problem of digital footprints left over lifetime
  • in the emerging Internet, in communities, and Web2.0
  • through user-centric and configurable technology

2. Making privacy real: PrimeLive!

  • making results of the projects PRIME and PrimeLife widely usable and deployed through standards, open source and education
  • cooperating with other projects for transferring PRIME and PrimeLife technologies and concepts

3. Advancing the state-of-the-art: privacy and identity management

  • researching mechanisms, HCI, policies, infrastructure
  • influencing new products and services
  • impacting standardisation

What is PrimeLife's project duration?

PrimeLife is planned for a duration of 36 months and started in March 2008.

What is the project funding?

The project budget amounts to approx. 15 million EUR. Roughly two thirds of this sum is funded by the European Community within the 7th Framework Programme.

Who is PrimeLife? Who are the members of the PrimeLife consortium?

PrimeLife is an European research project funded by the European Commission from 2008 to 2011.

The members of the PrimeLife consortium are well-known and renowned players in their respective fields and research areas from industry, SME, universities and non-profit and governmental organisations.

A complete list of project consortium members with links to their respective web sites can be found here:

Where can I access PrimeLife results and how may I use them?

According to the PrimeLife project structure, each work package yields different deliverables. In general, you can find these (interim) results on our web site. See results section. While deliverables are usually targeted towards the public, the so-called "heartbeats" represent smaller interim results, primarily for internal use. You will find some of the heartbeats on our website, too.

Those written results can be treated and used as regular scientific research results.

As for prototypes (i.e., results in form of software): Project partners will decide on a per-prototype basis, how each prototype will be released (e.g. under an open-source license).

Please contact us if you are in doubt about result usage.

How is PrimeLife involved into standardisation?

The PrimeLife project cooperates with international standardisation bodies such as the W3C, the ISO and the UN IGF on privacy-relevant standards. Together with the prior PRIME project, PrimeLife aims at bringing together relevant stakeholders for discussions on which parts of technology to standardise and invites standardisation initiatives to choose and pick from the project results what seems valuable to them.

How can enterprises benefit from the project?

Enterprises have the possibility to follow PrimeLife's progress and review the project results. The PrimeLife team contributes project results to various standardisation initiatives so that part of the results can be transferred into common standards and thus build the basis for further developments in the field privacy and identity management. Early adoption of new standards marks a clear advantage in competition.

Some results will also be contributed to existing open source software (OSS) projects. Your company can benefit from using these OSS applications and frameworks.

Enterprises are invited to the discussion about privacy and identity management. The project results from the project are public. More information about the project results are available under:

How can application developers profit from PrimeLife's results?

As an application developer you may make use of all the PrimeLife concepts and the code snippets that are made public on the PrimeLife website. Please refer to PrimeLife when using our text deliverables. For the open source code please check the information on the respective license.

In case you have no idea how to solve specific privacy-related problems, you may contact us so that we jointly can check whether PrimeLife has to offer anything to help you solving your tasks.

We are an open source software project. Can we benefit from PrimeLife's results?

We appreciate the implementation of our research results in open source software projects. Please have a look on our section on open source! If you are interested in specific prototypes or mechanisms, please contact the partners involved (given in the description of the code) or contact the project coordinator for further information concerning the licensing details.

How may end-users and citizens benefit from the results of this project?

The PrimeLife takes the perspective of end-users and citizens: It aims at bringing sustainable privacy and identity management for individuals to future networks and services.

However, PrimeLife is no software provider that ships end-user tools. It concentrates on research in the field of privacy and identity management. Nevertheless, PrimeLife's results can have quite some impact on end-users and citizens if they are picked up by enterprises, governmental authorities, standardisation initiatives or other stakeholders.

Here are a few examples:

Today, users often do not know what happens to their data when they are handled and processed by third parties. Although site operators in the EU are obliged by law to show an imprint and a privacy policy on their page, many users do not read them - mainly because they are too long, too complex and too hard to read. Wouldn't it be great if privacy policies could also be displayed with easy-to-grasp symbols and short human readable summaries? Or if your browser automatically notifies you when a site is greedy for your data? PrimeLife works on machine-readable policies and privacy icons that will help end-users.

Many users are member of a social network where they usually appear under one identity with their friends and other contacts. Common social networks are not developed in a way that effectively supports users in their identity management. PrimeLife has set up an own social network named "Clique" where end-users can try out some privacy functionality. In addition the crypto tool Scramble! can help end-users in integrating encrypted content in their social network profile that can be seen in plaintext by selected visitors only.


In addition PrimeLife works on concepts for lifelong privacy for individuals. In our all-too-fleeting world with rigorous technological progress, long-term effects have been hardly tackled, yet. PrimeLife offers its findings to application providers as well as policy makers so that our world is better prepared for maintaining the individuals' privacy for their whole lives.

How can policy makers benefit from the project results?

In particular PrimeLife's concepts in the areas of cryptology (specifically private credentials), social networks and lifelong privacy can be valuable for policy makers. PrimeLife's work bases on the current legal framework in the European Union. The PrimeLife team also tries to figure out solutions for challenges stemming from today's (and future) technological progress and gives recommendations to policy makers. Among others, PrimeLife consortium members contributed to different European eID initiatives and would also offer the researchers' experience for think tanks on privacy-related issues.

Are there related projects?

PrimeLife continues where its EC-funded predecessor project PRIME stopped. PRIME (= PRivacy and Identity Management in Europe) delivered fundamental results on which PrimeLife's work bases.

There are several other related projects. You can find a list here on our website:

You can also search for other projects within the "FP7-ICT" theme in the EU’s CORDIS database.

Where can I meet PrimeLife project partners in person?

A good opportunity to get in touch with us is at conferences and symposia. Please get in contact with us beforehand. We will route your request to the partners that will participate at the conference.

Conferences that we are likely to attend include:

You might also want to join one of our workshops. Check our website for workshop announcements.

The cat left the traces on the globe and it thus traceable for others. Cats are also known to be notoriously curious. A English saying is "Curiosity killed the cat!". But who cares, cats have nine lives, right? Well, yes, but humans don't and humans also have only one private sphere to be pierced and one reputation to lose - so be keep care about your *Prime*Life.

I still don't get it: Why does the logo of PrimeLife show a cat sitting on a globe?

“Curiosity killed the cat”, says an idiom people use when they try to warn somebody before making a huge mistake. Because being too curious and less precautious can cause harm to oneself or even others. Especially in the field of data protection and privacy issues most people tend to act little far-seeing by handing over personal data to all kinds of companies, institutions or social networks, without questioning if there is a need to give these information away. In some cases it is not clear what happens to the personal information and whether it might be shared later on with third parties we do not even know yet. But some day the data we disclosed, often without hesitating or questioning, might cause harm to us. Fact is, our data might be used some day for a purpose we do not anticipate and cannot foresee right now. Every time we share private data online, we leave our digital footprints somewhere in the global world of information. Every time we do so, we might lose a part of our personal privacy. And privacy is an important predicament for personal freedom.

Some people say that cats have nine lives. But we can assure that human beings tend to have just one. The average citizen has one full name and usually does not intend to change it. We should be aware of the fact that some data might cause harm to our privacy some day. And that is why we should not only be cautious, but also be curious about what happens to our private data, and start acting privacy-aware. That is what it is all about.

How can I find out more information and stay updated?

This website features an up-to-date news section. You can subscribe to our RSS feed using any RSS reader.

You might also be interested in the preliminary results and public project deliverables. Check out the results section on this website.